Tuesday, October 6, 2015



ACTOR SHYAAM ( 1920-1951 )

Elders all over the country ,fondly remember Actor Shyaam. I am told that "DIL-LAGI" , co-starring Suraiya, remains his best known film. It was directed by AR Kardar. The tragic romance of the film made it a big success at the box office. People still remember the song " Tu Mera Chand Main Teri Chandni" that touched new heights of popularity all over the country during those days. Shyam-Suraiya hit pair also acted in " Naach "and "Chaar Din".  He also acted in hits like Mann Kee Jeet (1944), Majboor (1948), Patanga (1949), Chandni Raat (1949), Meena Bazaar (1950) and Samadhi (1950). His heroines included some leading  actresses of that period like Naseem Banu , Nargis , Rehana , Nimmi  and Meena Shorey .

Shyaam ( Sunder Shyaam Chadha ) was born in a middle class Punjabi family from Sialkot  . His father was a store keeper in Medical Department while his grand father was a village Patwari.He was handsome with sharp features.    Right from his college days , he nursed a deep ambition to join films .

Starting from Punjabi Cinema at Lahore , he eventually moved to Bombay sometime around 1946. And from 1948 till his death in 1951, he rose to become an undisputed heart throb of his Fans all over the country .He was a Graduate from Punjab University and remained  a lover of  English  literature .

Not many of us know that Shyaam also wrote Articles in English that were Published in Blitz during those days. 
While shooting for the Film Shabistan co-starring Naseem Banu, Shyam fell off a horse and  died of Head Injuries in a  Hospital on April 25,1951. This incident broke many Hearts . His Fans  in India and Pakistan were shell shocked with his tragic end.
                                             ( Shyaam and Naseem Bano in Shabistaan 1951 )
Some days back , I came across the most wonderful and detailed   write up on Shyaam by Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed .Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed (Born 1947 ) is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University. I like his unbiased articles and research oriented work especially his book..." The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Accounts (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012; New Delhi: Rupa Books, ).Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed was born at  lahore and is a Swedish citizen. He is connected with many universities world over .

                                                                ( Prof. Ishtiaq Ahmed )
I quote from  Prof .Ishtiaq Ahmed's write up on Shyaam ,
" Shyam was born as Sunder Shyam Chadha on February 20, 1920 in Sialkot, whereas he grew up in Rawalpindi where he graduated from the famous Gordon College. Against his father’s wishes, Shyam made his film debut in Lahore in a Punjabi film, Gawandi (1942). His co-stars were Veena, Manorma, M Ismail and Asha Posley. Veena, a Muslim, and Manorma, a Christian, both from Lahore, later established themselves in Bombay, while M Ismail returned to Lahore soon after the partition. Asha became a famous Lollywood actress, initially playing the heroine but later became a character actress, mostly type-cast as a wicked woman.
Shyam acted in many memorable films whose songs continue to haunt people. I will name only a few here: Mann kee jeet (1944), Majboor (1948), Dillagi (1949), Patanga (1949), Chandni Raat (1949), Meena Bazaar (1950) and Samadhi (1950). Shabistan was released in 1951 though the last scenes were filmed with a pathan, tall and stately like Shyam, though his face was not shown.
Autar Mota's photo.Autar Mota's photo.
Shyam was probably the closest friend of Saadat Hassan Manto in Bombay. The two shared an apartment for quite some time. Shyam was also a close friend of another great Urdu writer, Krishan Chander. Both wrote articles on him that could be considered very powerful and moving obituaries. The common observation of both was that Shyam was an exceptionally humane and broad-minded individual. He was also a generous and caring human being who took care of his stepmother and stepbrothers and sisters with great affection. He nevertheless always felt a great void in his life because his mother died when he was very small and he continued to miss her.
He visited Lahore in 1948 and a function was held at the Capitol Cinema on the good old Abbot Road; I believe Capitol Cinema still stands in the same place though the last time I saw it, it was in an advanced state of dilapidation. During the function, Shyam sensed that things had changed fundamentally even though many of his Muslim friends were still loyal to him. Lahore was not the same anymore.
However, Shyam’s links to Lahore were rooted in deep love. He had married a Muslim from Lahore, Mumtaz Qureshi, better known as Taji. They had two children together. While their daughter, Sahira, was born while Shyam was alive, their son was born posthumously, two months after his death. Taji’s elder sister Zeb Qureshi acted in a few films in Bombay. Both sisters returned to Lahore after Shyam’s death. Zeb Qureshi was married for a while to the maternal uncle of a good friend of mine.
Mumtaz Qureshi later married a gentleman called Ansari; hence the children were raised as Muslims. His daughter became a noted Pakistan television artiste, Sahira Ansari, who later married a colleague, Rahat Kazmi. Rahat and Sahira Kazmi are well-known television artistes. Shyam’s son Shakir should be somewhere in Pakistan or elsewhere in this big wide world if all went well for him thereafter. I have seen the video film of Dilip Kumar’s first visit to Pakistan. In it one sees him spotting Sahira Kazmi in the audience and saying that he was glad to meet the daughter of his friend (Shyam) after all those years.
While researching for today’s article, I managed after a considerable effort to trace a nephew of Shyam, Vikram Chadha, all the way to Pune, Maharashtra. Vikram is a lawyer. I phoned him from Stockholm and had a long conversation. I learnt that a nephew of Shyam, Bimal, works for The Indian Express and a younger brother, Harbans, lives in Chandigarh.."    Unquote

  Post partition , After Manto moved to Lahore, he wrote an essay " Murli ki Dhuun" on his friend Shyaam . In Bombay ,Shyaam , Shahid Latif, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and Manto shared accommodation .Manto and Shyaam lived together in Poona as well for some time. Manto calls him fun loving , liberal   and a  man with roving eye for  good looking women.

Manto writes ,

“ Post Partition, After I shifted to Lahore permanently , It so happened that one day I received a letter from Owners of TEHSEEN PICTURES Lahore . They had received a direction from Mumbai that Rs 500/= was to be paid to me immediately . In fact Actor Shyam had passed on this direction. I believe my friend and actor Shyam had come to know about my financial Problems .I was paid 500 rupees by Tehseen Pictures and tears welled up in my eyes . After Partition , Shyam once came to Amritsar for promotion of his film. He also paid a visit to Lahore . I rushed to meet him. He was in Lahore , which had turned thousands of miles distant from Amritsar . And Shyam also visited Heera Mandi along with his friends . Shyaam was a lover of beauty. I believe death must be beautiful else Shyaam would have never died . ”
                                                        ( Shyaam And his wife Tajji )
                                                             ( Sahira Kazmi Daughter of Shyaam  )
                ( Sahira  kazmi daughter of Shyaam with her husband Rahat Kazmi )

 Shyaam was working on two films, Kale Badal, with the "Lara Lappa" actress Meena Shorey, and Shabistan with Naseem Banu, at the time of his demise.He died after a nasty fall from horseback, at the young age of 30 while shooting for Filimistan's Shabistan directed by Vibhuti Mitra , The reins of the horse slipped from Shyam's hand and he was thrown off the horse and received head injuries . He was rushed to Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. Shyaam 's wife Tajji died at karachi in 2000.

Shyaam 's wife Tajji  died in karachi in 2000.

 Apart from Dalip Kumar , Shyaam was a close  friend of noted urdu writer Krishen Chander as well. On his death , Both Manto and Krishan Chander wrote heartfelt obituaries in which they came to the same conclusion – that Shyam was not only a large-hearted man and sincere friend but also a most enlightened and compassionate human being.

Shyaam had told his wife that they shall be naming their to be born son as Shekhar. Tajji named him Shekhar but after Shyaam' s death and her second marriage , Shekhar was brought up as Muslim and named Shakir. Shakir is reportedly a doctor in UK.Shakir was born possibly two months after Shyaam' tragic death.
                      ( Delhi Based Journalist Bimal Chadda and Nephew of legendary actor  Shyaam )

Shyaam's younger brother Harbans Chadda moved to live in Delhi post Partition. Another brother moved to Pune. Bimal Chadda , noted Journalist is Shyaam's nephew who was fondly named as Billu by Shyaam. Bimal is Harbans Chadda' s son. Recently  Prof . Ishitiaq Ahmed has informed us that Bimal  Chadda is  i the process of completing a  Book  on his legendary  Uncle Shyaam which is likely to be Published shortly.

 Vikram Chadda , another nephew of Shyaam lives in Pune .

I Conclude this post on Legendary Shyaam with some lines from a poem of my Favourite  Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov .....

"For the hardship and affliction
We do not seek rewards,
Nor do we want our pictures
In the calendar of years.

Just tell our story simply
To those we shall not see,
Tell those who will replace us –
We fought courageously. "

So long so much on Shyaam..
( Autar Mota )

so long so much on Shyaam..

( Autar Mota )

Autar Mota's photo.Autar Mota's photo.

Creative Commons License

CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\autarmota.blogspot.com\.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.